Court orders Periya murder case to be investigated by CBI

Court orders Periya murder case to be investigated by CBI
Youth Congress members hacked to death in Kasaragod.

Kochi: Slamming the police for its "faulty" investigation, the Kerala High Court on Monday ordered Crime Branch to hand over the probe into the murder of two Congress workers in Periya in Kasaragod district to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court nullified the charge-sheet filed by the Kerala Police as it found 'the investigation was not trustworthy.'

Justice B Sudheendra Kumar's order came on a petition by the parents of the two slain youths - Sarath Lal and Kripesh - who were attacked and hacked to death while returning home after attending a function on February 17, 2019.

Finding fault with the probe, the court said forensic expert was not questioned and police believed the version of the first accused as gospel truth.

It said that those who participated in the conspiracy was not arraigned as accused and dismissed the prosecution version that the incident took place on account of personal vendetta.

"It is a political murder. All the accused are leaders of a political party. The twin murder is a planned one," the court observed as it transferred the investigation to the CBI.

The Crime Branch had earlier told the Kerala High Court that senior CPM leaders did not have any role in the twin murder. The court said that such an argument was unacceptable.

Opposing the CBI probe, the Crime Branch argued in the High Court that situation does not warrant a CBI probe as the probe is being efficiently investigated under the supervision of its senior officers.

"There is no politics for the probe agency. We have not shown any leniency towards the CPM. Nor was there any external interference," the DySP had said.

Following the order, the Congress and BJP tore into the left government demanding Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's resignation.

"The chief minister cannot continue in office even for a moment," Chennithala told reporters at Thiruvanathapuram.

BJP state president P S Sreedharan Pillai said the verdict was a slap on the CM's face and he should publicly apologise to the people.

Expressing unhappiness over the Crime Branch probe, the petitioners submitted that it was "eye-wash, tainted and malafide and one-sided". The entire investigation team was re-constituted with officers loyal to the CPI(M), the petitioners alleged.

Alleging that the police machinery was controlled by the Left party, the petitioners said they had no faith in the present investigation, which was "totally partial and one-sided and defective".

On February 17, a gang led by CPM former branch secretary A Peethambaran had hacked to death Youth Congress activists from Kallyott, Kripesh and Sarathlal, while they were returning home from a local function. Subsequently, the CPI(M) Kasaragod district committee expelled him from the party.

After months of investigation, the Crime Branch had submitted a 900-page chargesheet of the case to First-Class Magistrate Court earlier this week.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and the party state leadership had earlier said it had no role in the killings and that the party never promoted violence.

Rahul Gandhi had visited the homes of the two slain activists when he arrived in the state to officially launch the party's Lok Sabha poll campaign in March.